An evening of soul stirring music with Samvad

Music has no boundaries, no religion, no caste, creed, color. No discrimination. Music just has soul. It has the power to bring together people from around the world, from different backgrounds, from varying musical traditions, and to meld them into a cohesive, soul-stirring whole.

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The day the music died

I grew up with music…surrounded by it, immersed in it…I would go to sleep with a cassette playing on my tape recorder and wake up to the sound of music. I played with it in the background, danced to it, cried with it, laughed with it, sang along with it. Music filled me. More than that, it was almost a tangible part of me – like my heart, or coursing through my veins mixed with my blood.

During my formative years, my music choices were influenced by my parents. Musicians like Perry Como and Tina Charles ruled in our house, as did old hindi film music and ghazals by Jagjit and Chitra Singh. During my rebellious teens, I rocked Bon Jovi and Pink Floyd, fell in love with Madonna and Michel Jackson, and sashayed to Right Said Fred. As those erratic hormones loosened their hold over me, I learnt to appreciate the classical notes of Beethoven and Mozart, Yanni and Kenny G.

These days, music’s all about rap and hip hop, which I don’t dig that much, and somehow, it’s losing it’s tangibility. It’s now something I listen to while driving the car and occasionally at work, when I want to tune out the rest of the office and focus on what’s in front of me. Or for a few hours when I have the house to myself.

This loss of tangibility isn’t all about me. It’s also because the husband and I have very different musical tastes, and different listening styles. I like music to envelop the air around me, fill the house with it’s melodious strains. The husband prefers to get lost in his own private world with his music, blaring it straight into his ears through his headphones. It’s been difficult, almost impossible, to get these two worlds to meet.

On the few occasions when I’ve tried to initiate him to music my way, it’s ended in dissatisfaction. He turns the sound down until it’s little over being background noise – I mean, who listens to Another One Bites the Dust with the volume turned down? That song is meant to be blasted through the speakers. I like listening to each song on an album in full and in sequence. He listens to a bit of the song, then suddenly remembers another great track on the album and skips to it. This back and forth continues, leaving me unfulfilled….unable to immerse myself in the music.

And so I’ve given up on him coming over to my side, and sadly on music. Listening to it on headphones isn’t anything like listening to it on a music system, with the volume turned up, the thump of the drum underlining your heartbeat, the strains of the piano taking you through a whole range of emotions in one magical piece.

Sadly, the music has…not died, just faded away. Leaving me unmoored, if you will. Adrift in the sea of life without my constant companion.

What's on your playlist?

When I was in school, I used to have music playing in my room all day long. I woke up to music, read to music, slept to music. Fast forward to working life, and now my music listening time has shrunk. Considerably.

Now, I drive to music, walk to music and listen to some (sometimes) when I get back home.

These are my three current favorites – songs that I can listen to on repeat All Day Long.

Need you now – Lady Antebellum:  I love the raw emotion of wanting someone back so bad!

Pretty pretty please – Pink:– So relevant, given how obsessed we are with the size zero phenomenon. Greatlyrics too!

Boogie man – AC/DC: So peppy! The best-est song to drive to!

So, what’s on repeat on your playlist?

10 things in 10 mins

In our daily busy lives, as we go about meeting deadlines, keeping the house, looking after husbands, pets and children, it can be easy to forget the one person who needs the most care – you. If you’re bemoaning the lack of time, worry not.

Meditation Begins at Birth

premasagar via Flickr

Here are 10 things you can do for yourself in all of 10 minutes.

1. Meditate – The next time you’re online, download a few meditation podcasts, or check out my Spiritual Sunday posts and choose a piece of meditation music or guided meditation you like. Sync it to your music player (iPod) or phone. Next time you need a break, plug in your headphones and tune in to radio: you.

2. Collect images for an idea file/vision board – Dreaming of a relaxing spa treatment, a beach holiday, or something else? Set aside 10 minutes to scan through old magazines looking for pictures that speak to you. Clip them out and stick them into an envelope. Next time you need a mini break, get the envelope out, bring out a sheet of paper and a glue stick, and stick those images to make a collage of your very own vision board. Put it up where you can see it as you race through your busy day.

3. Breath yoga – Known as Pranayam in Yoga practice, are a set of simple breath exercises you can do in 10 minutes (or less, or more).

4. Listen to music – Music can change your mood – relax you, pep you up, make you dance or cry or fall in love all over again. Better still, if you’re at home faced with an unpleasant task (like cleaning up the house), put on some peppy music, turn up the volume, and dance as your clean!

A Sip of Turkish Coffee

Image by Kuzeytac via Flickr

5. Have a cuppa – A hot cup of tea or coffee, a slice of cake (if you want to be indulgent), quiet time for 10 minutes, and you’ll feel shiny and new. Promise!

6. Mini home facial – Put on some soft music – Chopin, Mozart, anything instrumental. Exfoliate your skin, apply a face mask, put a slice of cucumber over your eyes, and lay down for 5 minutes. Rinse. Apply a face cream. Fresh, smooth skin can make you feel absolutely wonderful!

7. A few quick photos – Take your mind off your to-do list. Grab your camera, yes, even your phone camera will do. Frame and fire off a few shots. Admire your mini creations.

Cover of

Cover of Messages from Your Angels

8. Quick 1-card reading – Get yourself an oracle deck – one of my favorites is Doreen Virtue’s Messages from your Angels. Next time you have 10 minutes, do a quick 1-card reading for yourself. The messages on the card deck are very uplifting, and might just help you shift your focus so you can approach your day from  a calmer place.

9. Read a poem/passage you love – I’ve found that reading a poem can help me shift my mood, no matter what kind of a mood I am in.

1o. Make a 5-min cup cake – click here for the recipe. Then snatch another few minutes to indulge in your guilty treat. If you’re feeling super generous, share it with your significant other! 😉

There you have it! A list of 10 things you can do in 10 minutes to recharge your batteries.

Do you have any favorites of your own? Do share in the comments!

Wandering Wednesday #11: The power of music

Neon music sign

Image via Wikipedia

Music is the language of the soul, says a popular adage. Now, scientists are finding that this may actually be true.

Researchers have found that recreational music-making and drumming can improve immunity, and daily sessions of voluntary music-guided slow breathing can significantly reduce blood pressure. Here are 7 Ways Music Breaks Can Improve Your Health.

Ever wondered Why Music Makes You Happy? Researchers have found the answer – listening to music triggers the brain to release the happiness chemical dopamine.

Does this inspire you to go make music? If you’re anything like me, you’d say “Me? Make music? Sure, if you want to clear the room!” Help is at hand for us non-musicians in the form of a cool iPhone app called “La Di Da” that creates music using “reverse karaoke.” You sing into the iPhone, then the computer program writes the music in the appropriate key and even auto tunes your voice for you. You can read more about the app and watch it in action here.

Have you ever experienced the stress-busting/mood changing effects of music?

(Click to read older Wandering Wednesday posts)

Looking back 2010: top 10 songs on my playlist

Music is the soul of life. I typically listen to a wide variety of music – rock, jazz, instrumental, and everything in between. I’ve tended to stay away from Hindi music, though, because until recently, most of the songs were quite terrible. But since a couple of years, Bollywood’s been surprising me — not only have there been some excellent Hindi movies, the music has been great too! So here is my list of the 10 songs I totally loved this year, in no particular order. I’ve thrown in YouTube videos for the Hindi songs, so my non-Indian friends can listen in if they’d like.

  1. Need you now – Lady Antebellum
  2. Gypsy – Shakira
  3. I feel good – Anjaana Anjaani OST
  4. Airplanes – B.O.B.
  5. Watch me burn – Rihana feat. Eminem
  6. Waka Waka – Shakira
  7. Iktara – Wake up Sid OST
  8. The catalyst – Linkin Park
  9. Boogieman – AC DC
  10. Dhan te nan – Kaminey OST

What songs were on your playlist this year?

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